US military gains access to Philippine bases near Taiwan and South China Sea


The Philippines on Monday identified the locations of four new US military bases it will have access to as part of an expanded defense deal analysts say is aimed at fighting China.

The four bases are three on the main island of Luzon, near Taiwan, and one in the province of Palawan in the South China Sea (SCS).

The US has stepped up its efforts to expand its Indo-Pacific security options in recent months, amid mounting concerns over China’s territorial aggression across the region.

The new location, under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), will allow US forces to rotate to a total of nine bases across the Philippines, including the strategically important Balabac Island near Chinese factories in the South China Sea.

“These new locations will strengthen the interoperability of the United States and Philippine Armed Forces and allow us to respond in a more unified framework to address common challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, including natural disasters and humanitarian disasters,” said a deputy Pentagon press officer. Sabrina Singh during Monday’s briefing.

The local news follows high-profile US military deals across the region, including plans to share defense technology with India and deploy new US Marines to the Japanese islands.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Marine Corps also opened a new base in Guam, an opportunity for the U.S. to take control of the islands east of the Philippines. The location, known as Camp Blaz, was the first new Marine base in 70 years and could eventually host 5,000 Marines.

Although the expanded approach was announced in early February, the location of the bases remained unknown.

On Monday, the partners identified four new sites in Palawan’s Balabac Island; Naval Base Camilo Osias in the province of Santa Ana; Lal-lo Airport in Cagayan; and Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela.

In a press release, Philippine Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. He called the four bases “convenient”, especially the naval base in Cagayan and the other one in Balabac Island.

The Camilo Osias naval base in northern Luzon is located just 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s third-largest city with a population of 2.7 million.

Galvez said Balabac sits on maritime lines of communication in the South China Sea, where Manila and Beijing have competing territorial claims, including islands where Beijing has built military fortifications.

-Source: CNN
” data-fave-thumbnails=”{” big”: { “uri”: ” }, “small”: { “uri”: ” } }” data-vr-video=”” data-show-html=”data-check-event-based-preview=”” data-network-id=”” data-details=””>

south china sea plane watson pkg

Watch: Chinese fighter jet warns US Navy plane in South China Sea

Collin Koh, a research fellow at the St. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said the bases are part of some of the region’s potential conflicts.

“The North Koreans have not only asked for Taiwan’s sovereignty, they have an interest in the South China Sea conflict,” Koh said. “It is difficult to imagine that the Taiwan Strait conflict will exclude the dimension of the South China Sea.”

He identified Koh Bashi Channel on the northern side of the Luzon Strait, closer to Taiwan, as a critical chokepoint, or for Chinese naval forces to break away from home waters and enter the open Pacific to attack military installations in eastern Guam. or US longships may enter the South China Sea.

He also highlighted the disputed location of Balabac near Malum Reef, where China has built an artificial island with military forces.

“The location of Balabac allows for intelligence gathering and peacekeeping stations of air and naval activities in the region, which can put the evil reef under scrutiny,” Koh said.

The Chinese Communist Party claims almost all of the South China Sea as its supreme territory, including Taiwan – an island democracy of 23.5 million people that has never been governed.

Both the U.S. and Philippine leaders announced the four new bases would not see a permanent U.S. military presence — that’s not allowed under the EDCA — but U.S. forces would be available in contingents.

“This is really about regional availability,” Singh said during a press briefing on Monday. “You see an increase in rotational forces in the region,” he said, adding that the Department of Defense is working closely with its Philippine partners to rapidly modernize the bases.

News that the US and Philippine forces are preparing to conduct their largest-ever joint military drills later this month, when an estimated 17,600 troops from the two allies will join forces for the Balikatan 23 exercises.

Washington and Manila were bound by a mutual defense treaty signed in 1951, which is in force, making it the oldest bilateral treaty of partnership in the region for the United States.

Source link

Ava Grey

Hi there! I'm Ava Grey, an enthusiastic article writer with a passion for the arts, fashion, and staying informed about current events. As a journalism student at the New York Academy of Art, I'm driven to use my writing to create positive change and spark meaningful conversations. I'm particularly interested in contemporary art and sustainable fashion, and I love exploring how people use these mediums to express themselves and communicate their values. I believe that staying informed and hearing different perspectives is essential for personal growth and learning, and I'm always eager to engage in lively debates and discussions.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button